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Paper Economy

The latest mortgage rates data shows that the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped 11 basis points to 3.76 percent since last week. (SoldAtTheTop)

MBA: Mortgage rates jump to 3.76 percent

By Guest blogger / 05.29.13

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications. 

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases. 

The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) jumped 11 basis points to 3.76% since last week while the purchase application volume increased 3% and the refinance application volume declined 12% over the same period. 

The National Association of Realtors' Existing Home Sales Report for April shows an increase in sales with total home sales rising 0.6 percent since March and climbing 9.7 percent above the level seen in April 2012. (SoldAtTheTop)

Existing home sales rise in April

By Guest blogger / 05.22.13

Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report for April showing an increase in sales with total home sales rising 0.6% since March and climbing 9.7% above the level seen in April 2012. 

Single family home sales also improved climbing 1.2% from March rising 9.0% above the level seen in April 2012 while the median selling price increased a notable 11% above the level seen a year earlier. 

Inventory of single family homes increased from March to 1.92 million units but still remained 11.9% below the level seen in April 2012 which, along with the sales pace, resulted in a monthly supply of 5.3 months. 

The latest mortgage rates data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage jumped 11 basis points to 3.65 percent since last week while the purchase application volume declined 3 percent. (SoldAtTheTop)

MBA: Mortgage rates jump as applications fall

By Guest blogger / 05.22.13

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications. 

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases. 

The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) jumped 11 basis points to 3.65% since last week while the purchase application volume declined 3% and the refinance application volume declined 12% over the same period. 

Thursday's jobless claims report showed a notable increase as jobless claims jumped by 32,000 to 360,000 claims. (SoldAtTheTop)

Jobless claims jump by 32,000

By Guest blogger / 05.16.13

Today’s jobless claims report showed a notable increase to initial unemployment claims and a slight decline to continued unemployment claims as initial claims trended well below the closely watched 400K level. 

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims increased by 32,000 to 360,000 claims from 328,000 claims for the prior week while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 4,000 claims to 3.009 million resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 2.3%. 

Since the middle of 2008 though, two federal government sponsored “extended” unemployment benefit programs (the “extended benefits” and “EUC 2008” from recent legislation) have been picking up claimants that have fallen off of the traditional unemployment benefits rolls. 

Currently there are some 1.79 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits. 

Taken together with the latest 2.97 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 4.76 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls. 

 

A notable 213,962 individual recipients were removed from the food stamps program in February, with the current total still increasing 2.66 percent on a year-over-year basis. (SoldAtTheTop)

Food stamp use declines in February

By Guest blogger / 05.13.13

As a logical consequence of the prolonged economic downturn, participation in the federal food stamp program is continuing to rise.

In fact, household participation has been climbing so steadily that it has dwarfed the last peak (which looks like a minor blip by comparison) set as a result of the immediate fallout following hurricane Katrina.

The latest data released by the Department of Agriculture indicated that in February, a notable 213,962 individual recipients were removed from the food stamps program with the current total still increasing 2.66% on a year-over-year basis.

Individuals receiving food stamp benefits declined to 47.55 million which, as a ratio of the overall civilian non-institutional population, declined 1.66% since February 2012 to now stand at a whopping 19.42% of the population.

Households receiving food stamps benefits declined by 82,324 to 23 million households with the current total rising 3.84% above the level seen a year earlier

As participation continues to swell, so too has the total nominal benefit cost climbing 2.32% on a year-over-year basis to $6.30 billion for the month.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's latest weekly applications survey shows that mortgage rates went flat at 3.47 percent since last week. (SoldAtTheTop)

MBA: Mortgage rates flat at 3.47 percent

By Guest blogger / 05.09.13

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications. 

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases. 

The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) went flat at 3.47% since last week while the purchase application volume increased 2% and the refinance application volume increased 8% over the same period. 

At 50.7 the purchasing manager’s composite index (PMI) declined 1.17 percent since March 2013 and dropped 6.28 percent below the level seen a year earlier. That's an indication of slowing manufacturing activity for the second consecutive month. (SoldAtTheTop)

Manufacturing activity declines in April

By Guest blogger / 05.01.13

Today, the Institute for Supply Management released their latest Report on Business for the manufacturing sector indicating that manufacturing activity declined in April.

At 50.7 the purchasing manager’s composite index (PMI) declined 1.17% since March and dropped 6.28% below the level seen a year earlier giving an indication of slowing manufacturing activity for the second consecutive month.

Respondents appear generally positive overall with many citing strong trends and steady pace: 

"Business can be described as flat at best." (Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products)  ( Continue… )

Private employment in the US improved in April as private employers added 119,000 jobs, according to ADP. (SoldAtTheTop)

ADP: Private staffers add 119,000 jobs in April

By Guest blogger / 05.01.13

Today, private staffing and business services firm ADP released the latest installment of their National Employment Report indicating that the situation for private employment in the U.S. improved in April as private employers added 119,000 jobs in the month bringing the total employment level 1.57% above the level seen in April 2012. 

Perusing the rest of the data in the ADP dataset you can see the the economy is currently showing the most growth for small to mid-sized service providing jobs with goods-producing jobs remaining near trough levels. 

Look for Friday’s BLS Employment Situation Report to likely show somewhat similar trends. 

 

The latest Case-Shiller home prices data is continuing to demonstrate more resiliency than seen in recent years as prices continue to move up even in the face of typically lower seasonal transactions. (SoldAtTheTop)

Case-Shiller: Home prices surge in February

By Guest blogger / 04.30.13

Today's release of the S&P/Case-Shiller (CSI) home price indices for February reported that the non-seasonally adjusted Composite-10 price index increased for a straight month rising 0.37% since January while the Composite-20 index increased 0.29% over the same period. 

The latest CSI data is continuing to demonstrate more resiliency than seen in recent years as prices continue to move up even in the face of typically lower seasonal transactions. 

If this trend continues, rather than declining as has been seen in past years, prices may just remain flat into the March-April release in advance of the typical uplift from the more active spring transactions.

The 10-city composite index increased 8.60% as compared to February 2012 while the 20-city composite increased 9.32% over the same period. 

Both of the broad composite indices show significant peak declines slumping -29.63% for the 10-city national index and -29.03% for the 20-city national index on a peak comparison basis. 

This chart shows the seasonally adjusted national pending home sales index along with the percent change on a year-over-year basis as well as the percent change from the peak set in 2005. (SoldAtTheTop)

Pending home sales climb 1.5 percent in March

By Guest blogger / 04.29.13

Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Pending Home Sales Report for March showing that pending home sales improved with the seasonally adjusted national index climbing 1.5% from February and increasing 7.0% above the level seen in March 2012. 

Meanwhile, the NARs chief economist Lawrence Yun is beginning to adopt the "narrow range" sentiment of years past as limited supply works to mute sales activity:

"Contract activity has been in a narrow range in recent months, not from a pause in demand but because of limited supply. Little movement is expected in near-term sales closings, but they should edge up modestly as the year progresses, ... Job additions and rising household wealth will continue to support housing demand."

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